Timişeni Church, Gorj County

The Orthodox church with the patron saint “Holy Hierarch Nicholas” from Timișeni, Gorj County, is part of the category of monuments specific to the old religious architecture in Oltenia. Abandoned and weather-bitten, in danger of destruction especially due to the expansion of Pinoasa coal mine, the church was saved and transferred to the museum in 2002, with the parishioners' agreement and the financial support of Rovinari Mining Exploitation. Here, it was consecrated again, receiving as patron “St. Pious Demetrius the New”, the protector of Bucharest.
The church was built on a limestone base, with massive sills and walls made of oak beams, joined in “dovetails”. The steep hipped roof and the belfry galeated roof have a flared covering made of geometrically finished shingles, with “crested larks” on the edge.
The edifice from Timișeni reflects the typology of Orthodox churches, having a rectangular plan with three distinct spaces: narthex, nave and an altar with a detached polygonal apse. The entrance is through a porch with a railing from fretted planks and pillars, carved in the characteristic style of the ornamental repertory of the masters from Gorj.
The church impresses both by its architectural qualities and by the painting assembly that adorns it, being among the rare wooden monuments painted on the outside. The painting was done in three stages. In 1773, Mihai Zugrav, a Gorj icon painter of peasant style created the iconostasis: the Holy Doors (The Annunciation), sovereign icons (Mother of God with the Child and Jesus Christ on the Throne), feast icons that illustrate scenes from Jesus’s life, the icons of the Apostles, the True Cross and the two molebens. Then in 1856, Gheorghe painted the interior walls of the altar.
In the final stage, between 1874-1875, when the belfry was raised, the rest of the painting was made: groups of three saints (in the nave); the eight Prophets (the southern exterior wall), the remembrance list of the parish founders in the village, the Last Judgment and the Heaven (the exterior porch wall). The attention is drawn by the votive portrait of mayor Petre Diaconescu, dressed in a “schileresc” costume, specific for the Gorj folk apparel (in the narthex) and the portraits of the priests Bârhoată and Pupăzan, servants of the holy edifice (the northern exterior wall). They present true samples of local history and specificity. Together with the icons, one can note inside a Holy Table, crosses, candlesticks and incense burners.

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